Formula E racer Daniel Abt was disqualified and ordered to pay 10,000 euros ($ 10,900) to a charity for illegally hiring a professional esports player to participate falsely like him in an official virtual race, reports the BBC.
For those who are not aware, virtual racing has taken on new life in various leagues around the world, due to the complications of hosting real-world racing events during the COVID-19 pandemic. . Companies like iRacing, a PC subscription gaming platform that contracts with several real-world racing leagues, have worked with NASCAR to organize digital races, with professional drivers hiding behind controllers rather than real cars. Like any sport, professional racing has its drama between players, but the move to digital racing has added a new layer. Five-time IndyCar champion Kyle Larson was fired for using a racial slur in a digital race, according to AP News.
Abt, a 27-year-old German racer sponsored by Audi, has since apologized for hiring another player to pretend to be him, and has also been robbed of all the points he has won in the “Race” at Home Challenge ”, which features pilots competing with their original configuration.
“I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have,” said Abt. “I am particularly sorry about this because I know how much work has been put into this project by the Formula E organization. I am aware that my offense has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never intended with a bad intention. ”
Abt impostor? A professional player named Lorenz Hoerzing, who has also been disqualified from all future rounds of another racing series called Challenge Grid.
Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who placed second during the race in question, said on his Twitch stream that he suspected Abt of using another player to run on his behalf. Two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne supported Vandoorne’s accusation.
“Please ask Daniel Abt to put on his Zoom the next time he drives, because, as Stoffel said, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t there,” said Vergne.
According to ESPN, the Formula E organization has made no official statement on how the determination that Abt was cheating was made, but the site the-race.com, which organizes its own series of virtual races, claims to have understood that the event organizers had crossed – reference the IP address of Abt with that of the real player behind the wheel.
Riders are usually visible on a Zoom camera, but the-race.com claims that the face of the person who was to be Abt has been blocked by the equipment.
It is unknown whether Abt will be subject to additional sanctions or loss of sponsorship as a result of his actions.
Joseph Knoop is a screenwriter / producer / stand team for IGN.